Babylon Public Library, April 22, 2022 To read your program notes for "Hanks a Lot!," click right here!
March 13, 2021 “Honky Tonking” (Hank Williams, 1947) Williams actually recorded and released this song twice in consecutive years, once for the low-budget, no-royalties Sterling Records in 1947 and again for the far more professional MGM Records in January 1948. Sterling didn’t have much distribution, so the MGM recording is the version almost everybody knows … Continue reading Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s ‘A Year in a Distant Country’
North Babylon Public Library, January 26, 2021 “Setting the Woods on Fire” (Hank Williams, 1952) Written by Fred Rose and Edward G. Nelson, this is a great example of why many people said that Fred Rose could write a Hank Williams song better than anyone, even Williams himself. Since the song first hit the airwaves, … Continue reading Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s The Other Great American Songbook
Bethpage Public Library, January 24, 2021 “Keep on the Sunny Side” (Carter Family, 1928) Songwriters get their ideas from all over, but the best ones keep their ears open, knowing that any random phrase they hear might be the germ of a great song. In the case of lyricist Ada Blenkhorn, she had a nephew … Continue reading Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s Bristol and Beyond: The Birth of Country Music
“Waiting for a Train” (Jimmie Rodgers, 1928). Rodgers is credited with writing this song, which he absolutely didn’t do—nearly all of his songs were written by other people or (if his name is on them) adapted from older blues songs or mountain ballads, and this is no exception. It dates from no later than 19th-century … Continue reading ‘Tennessee Walt: An Evening in ‘A Distant Country’: Program Notes
“Worried Man Blues” (Carter Family, 1930). I have a theory about this song. I’m struck by the lines “I went across the river and laid me down to sleep. When I woke up, I had shackles on my feet.” Clearly the narrator has crossed a river and ended up in the wrong place, a place … Continue reading Program Notes: ‘A Distant Country 2’